Facing a sharp decline in stock price and pending litigation from some investors, Netflix has added specific language in their Corporate Culture Memo to employees that specifically mentions “spend our members’ money wisely.” Variety was the first to report on this addition to the streamer’s culture page on their jobs site, revealing that a series of other changes, additions, and excisions were also made to the language of the page. The specific mention of spending money wisely falls under their “Valued Behaviors” section, which includes a sub-section labeled “Judgement.” In addition to “You spend our members’ money wisely,” it also includes:
You make wise decisions despite ambiguity
You use data to inform your intuition and choices
You look beyond symptoms to identify systemic issues
You make decisions mostly based on their long term, rather than near term, impact
Variety notes that they did cut one section from the memo that previously read “If our company experienced financial difficulty, we wouldn’t ask our employees to accept less pay… On the other hand, if the company does well, our broadly distributed stock options become quite valuable.” Earlier this year, upon disclosing that the company has lost 200k users against a forecast of 2.5 million additions (the negative amount of paid users was due to ceasing service in Russia, resulting in the loss of 700k paid subscribers), it resulted in the share price for Netflix falling 21% from $348.61 to $226.19. It has fallen even lower since then, hovering between $160 and $180 as of this writing. Netflix is facing a potential class action lawsuit for its drastic dip in stock prices, the crux of the legal argument being that the streamer made misleading and false statements, specifically with regard to slower growth in paid subscribers.
As noted by the trade, Netflix also specifically added a section labeled “Artistic Expression,” which notes: “Not everyone will like-or agree with-everything on our service. While every title is different, we approach them based on the same set of principles: we support the artistic expression of the creators we choose to work with; we program for a diversity of audiences and tastes; and we let viewers decide what’s appropriate for them, versus having Netflix censor specific artists or voices.” The section concludes that Netflix employees who “find it hard to support our content breadth” should come to the realization that the streamer “may not be the best place” for them.
This language comes after the streamer faced criticism from viewers and employees about how it handled original stand-up specials starring Dave Chappelle. The controversial specials featured content called transphobic and homophobic by many, but Netflix, and co-CEO Ted Sarandos, rallied around Chappelle at the time and have since collaborated with him on multiple additional specials.
The Netflix memo concludes that the company’s “cultural excellence propels our business excellence, which increases member satisfaction and in turn propels our long term growth and stock price. It’s how we build an extraordinarily successful company entertaining the world.”